|PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT
Paul McCartney and record producer Rick Rubin are behind a six-part docuseries that goes behind the scenes of McCartney’s transcendent musical journey, from his first composition through the Beatles years and beyond. McCartney’s next studio album, McCartney III, drops this Friday, December 18. Endeavor Content is financing the project and handling worldwide sales. Film 45 is producing with Frank Marshall, whose “The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” doc just bowed on HBO and HBO Max.
World Cup winner and Olympic gold medalist Megan Rapinoe’s memoir “One Life” will be adapted as a scripted series. Sony Pictures Television optioned the rights to the book, which Rapinoe wrote with Emma Brockes and details her life and soccer career.
Hulu landed the television adaptation of “Wind Of Change,” the buzzy podcast that poses a titillating question: Did the CIA write the Scorpions’ iconic hit song. Project is being developed by Alex Karpovsky. The Patrick Raden Keefe-hosted podcast bowed in May from Pod Save America producer Crooked Media and Pineapple Street Studios.
Kate Beckinsale will topline Paramount+ dark comedy “Guilty Party.” From Funny or Die, the story follows a discredited journalist desperate to salvage her career by glomming on to the story of a young mother sentenced to life in prison for murdering her husband. Beckinsale replaces Isla Fisher, who originally was cast in the role but pulled out due to pandemic-related circumstances.
A sequel to classic sitcom “Night Court” is in development at NBC, with original star John Larroquette returning in the role of Dan Fielding. “Big Bang Theory” alum Melissa Rauch will exec-produce the series, which follows Judge Abby Stone, daughter of original series character Harry Stone, following in her father’s footsteps presiding over the night shift of a Manhattan arraignment court.
CBS is developing “The Brand,” a drama from Kirk Rudell (“Human Discoveries”), Alex Gibney and his Jigsaw Productions, and CBS Studios. The story centers on a woman who suddenly has to step in to the top position at her family’s brand management firm and sell sketchy clients’ images while redefining her own. Rudell exec-produces with Gibney and Kevin Plunkett for Jigsaw Productions.
“Bright Young Things,” a coming-of-age drama series from “Spinning Out” creator Samantha Stratton, is under way at Amazon’s free ad-supported streaming service IMDb TV. Amazon Studios produces the project, about a girl from a working-class town in West Virginia who earns a scholarship to the most elite boarding school in the country, in association with Westbrook Studios, the production division of Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s media company. Stratton serves as showrunner.
Jared Leto reportedly is in talks to star in the Apple TV+ podcast adaptation “WeCrashed.” According to Deadline, discussions are ongoing for the Oscar winner to topline the series from Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, to be penned and exec-produced by Lee Eisenberg and Drew Crevello. Hosted by David Brown, the podcast series detailed the story of WeWork and its founders.
A TV adaptation of M. K. England’s 2019 book “The Disasters with Supergirl” is in development at the CW, with writer Derek Simon. Story is set in the future and follows a group of military academy students who are forced to run colonies in space that humans are migrating to in an effort to save Earth from climate crisis. Project is from Berlanti Productions, 5 More Minutes Productions and Warner Bros TV.
A four-part docuseries based on Pope Francis-penned “Sharing The Wisdom Of Time” is in the works at Netflix. Simona Ercolani and production house Stand By Me are behind the series, which features woman and men over 70 sharing their stories with young filmmakers from the same country and is slated to be released in 2021.
A limited series based on the life of Rick James is in development at Universal Studios’ UCP. “Super Freak” (working title), written by Randy McKinnon, is a funkadelic mix of music biopic and true crime, chronicling James’ plans for a comeback in the early ‘90s amid a heated trial that threatened to destroy his legacy. The story will touch on themes of race, privilege and the gray area of image vs. reality for celebrities. Ty James, daughter of the late James, will exec produce.
Gunpowder & Sky is exec-producing “After the Murder of Albert Lima,” from director/producer Aengus James (“American Harmony”). The true-crime documentary thriller will be released as a Crackle Original in the first quarter of 2021. The film is exec-produced by Gunpowder & Sky’s Van Toffler, Floris Bauer, and Jude Harris, and broadcast anchor, host and executive producer, Meredith Vieira.
Skydance Animation is in talks to sell John Lasseter-produced movies “Luck” and “Spellbound” to Apple. The films reportedly would anchor a larger agreement between the animation shingle and the streamer, according to Variety.
SK Global and The Mazur Kaplan Co. acquired rights to the novel “His Only Wife,” from Ghanaian writer Peace Adzo Medie. Plot follows the story of a young seamstress in Ghana whose life is transformed when she accepts a marriage proposal from the wealthy family of a man she hardly knows, and relocates to the capital city of Accra. She soon discovers her marriage is not the happy partnership she’d dreamed of, but she finds a new independence in the big city.
BBC gave the greenlight to House Productions’ four-part adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s novel “Life After Life.” Bash Doran, “Outlaw King” writer, and John Crowley, who directed “Brooklyn,” are attached to the project.
NEW + RETURNING SERIES
Snapchat this week dropped new AR dance series “Move It!” Immersive dance show brings together Snapchat’s AR camera platform, music, and dance influencers Michael Le and Dytto. The Snap Original enables viewers to create their own music videos for 10 songs.
YouTube Originals premiered “30 Days With: Ryan Garcia,” a four-part docuseries that follows the 22-year-old undefeated professional boxing phenom as he prepares for his January 2 fight against British boxer, Luke Campbell.
“Nurses” returns to NBC on a new night. The series is back on Tuesdays, beginning January 5 at 10p.
PBS music series “Austin City Limits” announced the second half of season 46 returns January 9 with an episode celebrating the Foo Fighters’ 25th anniversary.
Lifetime is putting its own spin on wealth management, with two “Marrying Millions” specials planned to precede the new season of the show, which debuts Wednesday, January 27, at 10p. The first part of catch-up special “Marrying Millions: The Journey So Far” airs December 30, with part 2 following on January 20.
In a first for the network, Telemundo will debut two new shows and a new season on Tuesday, January 26. “Exatlon Estados Unidos” returns for season 5 at 7p, followed at 9p by the premiere of rom-com “La Suerte de Loli” (Loli’s Fate). Set in LA, series marks the network debut of Mexican actress Silvia Navarro (“Dad Wanted”) in the title role of a successful, free-willed media executive whose life turns upside down when her best friend suddenly passes away leaving everything to her, including two children. At 10p, thriller-drama “Buscando a Frida” (“The Search for Frida) debuts.
Home reno master Nicole Curtis helps overwhelmed DIY-ers restore their historic abodes in new series “Rehab Addict Rescue.” Eight-ep series bows Thursday, January 28, at 9p on HGTV, as well as Discovery+.
Showtime’s late-night talk show “Desus & Mero” is headed back for season 3 Sunday, January 31 at 11p. Co-hosts Desus Nice and The Kid Mero give their take on the day’s hot topics and chatting with guests Sundays and Thursdays.
Jason Biggs is set to host “Wild Cherries,” a new Fox primetime game show the network developed in conjunction with Pepsi. Launching Sunday February 14 at 7p, the show was created by “Beat Shazam” co-creator Wes Kauble and features the “American Pie” actor overseeing two rounds of pop culture trivia game play where teams try to win a $250,000 jackpot. Series, produced by Fox Alternative Entertainment, also will air on Hulu and Fox’s streaming platform Tubi after its linear bow. The drinks brand and Fox previously collaborated on “The X Factor” and “Empire.”
Fans can go behind the scenes of season 2 of “The Mandalorian” in a new installment of “Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian.” Two-hour special drops Friday, December 25 on Disney+.
InWild, the nature and wildlife channel co-venture between Insight TV and Off the Fence, will launch a sponsored programming block December 26-January 2 featuring nature content from Terra Mater Factual Studios.
In the latest tech wars salvo, Facebook launched an attack on Apple’s plans to include an opt-in requirement for users of iOS 14 devices granting permission to be tracked for advertising purposes. The Facebook campaign, which targets the ways the new privacy requirement will hurt small businesses, includes a page on its platform featuring testimonials from small-business customers, and full-page ads yesterday in The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal for the campaign under the headline: “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.”
Netflix is testing an audio-only experience for its streaming content via mobile devices. Initial test run is with Android devices and enables users to disable video and just listen to the audio portion of select content.
Amagi, a broadcast and streaming TV tech company, will be the cloud platform for Pac-12 Networks’ recently launched AVOD channel Pac-12 Insider. The deal covers program scheduling, cloud playout, delivery and ad insertion for Pac-12 Insider on Pac-12 Now and Pac-12.com as well as third party platforms including The Roku Channel, Pluto TV and Samsung TV Plus.
BBC Studios’ new streamer BBC Select will premiere in the US and Canada early next year on Amazon Prime Video and the Apple TV app, and focus on factual content around culture and politics. Launch roster includes Louis Theroux’s BBC documentaries “Selling Sex” and “Surviving America’s Most Hated Family,” and exclusives like Mary Beard’s “Shock of the Nude,” and Adam Curtis’ “All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace.”
Let’s make a deal, at last. HBO Max will launch on the Roku platform starting today (December 17). Roku users will be able to download HBO Max from the Roku channel store and subscribe directly on their Roku device. The move is under the wire for the December 25 debut of “Wonder Woman 1984”… HBO Max also will be available on Sony’s new PlayStation5.
Starzplay, the premium streaming service from Starz, is extending its reach internationally. The service is launching in the Nordics this week via deals with NENT/Viaplay, following more than two dozen partner launches since June.
Streaming channel MAVTV Motorsports Network, dedicated exclusively to motorsports, announced its first global expansion—with Samsung TV Plus in Australia.
Pocket.watch signed a raft of international deals to bring its Emmy-nominated series “Ryan’s Mystery Playdate” and other shows including “Love, Diana Adventures” and “SpaceToon” to markets in Europe and the Middle East. Partners include Clan (Spain/Spanish), Cartoonito (Italy/Italian), Amazon (Germany/German) and SpaceToon (Middle East/Arabic).
WildBrain forged a partnership with Samsung to launch multiple kids and teen channels on Samsung TV Plus. “Caillou and Friends” and “Teletubbies and Friends” already are available in select European markets. A “Degrassi” channel is planned for the US and Canada in spring 2021.
ADVERTISING & BRANDS
AccuWeather TV Network announced a strategic partnership with Reelz for national advertising sales and marketing opportunities leveraging AccuWeather’s 24/7 national, regional and local weather news.
UPtv is inviting fans to “Christmas Together” via a new one-minute video created with creative agency Dixon & Co. and spoken-word artist IN-Q to help viewers find silvers linings this unusual holiday season.
Scout Productions, the company behind “Queer Eye,” launched promo “Eye on the Holidays with Queer Eye.” Every day from December 9-20, a ‘Hero’ who has had her/his life transformed by the Netflix show is gifting items from Walmart’s Queer Eye furniture line by Dorel Home to a deserving person from their life or local community.
Dylan Sprouse joined the cast of Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble’s “The Sex Lives Of College Girls,” for HBO Max, as a series regular.
Season 2 of Starz drama “Hightown” is casting up. Crystal Lee Brown (“The Good Lord Bird”), Cecil Blutcher (“Premature”), Carlos Gomez (“The Baker and the Beauty”) and Barbara Weetman (“Carter and June”) are in for recurring roles.
Mahira Kakkar (“A Suitable Boy”) and Ali Lopez-Sohaili (“Law & Order: SVU”) landed recurring roles on the upcoming third season of NBC drama series “Manifest”… Keith Powers (“Straight Outta Compton”) will co-star opposite Gabrielle Union in Netflix rom-com “The Perfect Find”… Emily Beecham (“Cruella and Little Joe”) will star in Netflix’s European series “1899.”
Food Network Canada released its winter schedule. Bolstered by new Corus Studios Original series “Project Bakeover,” which follows pastry chef Steve Hodge (“Great Chocolate Showdown”), the slate also includes “Big Food Bucket List,” “Kids Baking Championship,” “Beat Bobby Flay” and “Chopped.”